It will probably take you roughly 5 minutes to read this article about heart health. In this 5-minute span of time roughly 9 people will have a heart attack and 5 people die of a heart related condition. Statistically in the United States, every 34 seconds someone has a heart attack and every 60 seconds someone dies of a heart related condition. Cardiovascular diseases claim more lives than all other cancers combined. Unfortunately according to research, Alabama as a state is the second to Mississippi as most deadly state in the country based on heart disease death rates.
Heart disease generally refers to conditions that involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack, chest pain, or stroke. Other conditions, such as those that affect your heart’s muscle, valves or rhythm, also are considered forms of heart disease. It is the leading cause of death in the United States and claims more lives than all forms of cancer combined. Typically when people think of heart disease, it is thought that more men are affected than women however this is not true. According to statistics, since 1984 women than men have died each year from heart disease. This is because men on average develop heart disease 10-15 years earlier than women, usually during the prime of their life, which raises more concern and awareness.
There are many contributors to heart disease and the good news is many of them are controllable and are a direct result of how we take care of ourselves and live. Unfortunately there are also some risk factors beyond our control such as genetics. Some risk factors that increase the chance of heart disease that are controllable include: smoking, a sedentary lifestyle, a poor diet, obesity, uncontrolled high blood pressure, excessive drinking, high cholesterol, and high stress levels. There are also risk factors beyond our control that lead to heart disease such as ethnicity, age, and genetics that are passed down from our parents.
There are many different signs and symptoms of heart disease that can make it difficult to know you actually have a problem. Some common signs include: Anxiety-heart attack survivors often talk about having experienced a sense of impending doom, chest discomfort, cough, dizziness, fatigue, rapid or irregular pulse, shortness of breath, sweating, weakness, nausea, and loss of appetite. If someone is having a heart attack, the pain can actually refer to other parts of the body besides the chest, including the jaw, shoulders, arm, back, and stomach. Unfortunately despite all these common symptoms, the most common sign of a heart condition is nothing at all. This is why heart disease is termed the “silent killer”, because it a lot of times people do not know they any problems at all until they have a heart attack or die suddenly.
This is why it is so important to be checked regularly for possible heart conditions, especially if it runs in your family. Fortunately, there are many things we can do to prevent heart disease from forming. These include: avoiding the use of tobacco, exercise for 30-60 minutes daily, lowering our stress level, eating a healthy diet, getting proper rest, and taking vitamins such as fish oil, garlic, Co-Q 10, and Vitamin D.
So you have the facts about heart disease, causes, signs and symptoms, and ways to take care of yourself to lower your chances. As you read, heart disease is the silent killer so don’t assume you are healthy just because you “feel fine”. Take action of your heart health now, lets change the statistics and make Alabama a healthier state one person at a time.